Last updated: June 17th, 2018
Why I Created this List
I created this list of UX resources for people like you—people who want to become UX designers.
As you shift your career to UX design, you’ll find there is no single, “right” way to transition to UX. There are many UX training options. There are many (often conflicting) resources on UX portfolios. And there are many strong opinions on how you should or shouldn’t become a UX designer. All of this can make it challenging to determine what path into UX is right for you.
Below are the best resources I’ve found for becoming a UX designer. Most of them don’t offer straightforward, prescriptive solutions. Instead, they help you find your own answers for becoming a UX designer.
I’ve shared many of these resources with my students at Center Centre, the UX design school, where I work as a faculty member. They’ve found these resources helpful. I think you will, too.
How to Use this List
Review as many resources from this list as you’d like. Each resource offers a unique perspective on shifting your career to UX design.
The UX of Getting Started in UX
Dan Maccarone and Sarah Doody explain many things in the article, including the complexity of hiring for UX designers, finding a UX mentor, and UX training programs like boot camps. I appreciate the authors’ brutal honesty as they describe the challenges of becoming a UX designer and the challenges of hiring UX designers. This article is long, and it’s worth reading the whole piece.
Letter to a Junior Designer
Elliot Dahl shares insights for junior UX designers in this article. He explains how mentors can support you throughout your career, how to use Twitter to advance your career, and why you need to understand your employer’s business model to be a successful designer. I appreciate Elliot sharing the hard lessons he’s learned in this article.
You Don’t Need to Know Everything About UX
Fabricio Teixeira’s article gives you guidance on how to begin learning about the different things within the UX field. There are many things to learn. This can seem daunting to people who are new to UX. I appreciate how Fabricio ends the article by saying, “Don’t feel guilty for what you don’t know. Be proud of what you know.”
The Rise of the UX Researcher
User research is an important component of UX design. If you’re new to user research, I recommend this article by UX Planet. The article defines user research and describes the type of work researchers do.
Grow Your Career Without Leaving Your Company
Lis Pardi blazed her own trail to become a UX designer/information architect. She changed her career by taking on the role of UX designer at her organization. If you already work in technology or design and you want to become a UX designer, Lis’ insights may help you.
How to Land Your Dream Design Job
Tobias Van Schneider interviewed design hiring managers, then wrote this article about what those hiring managers look for in a design candidate. His post is more applicable to visual designers than UX designers, but most of the guidance he shares can help you. I appreciate his recommendations on building a portfolio, learning to write effectively, and being a designer who’s easy to work with.
How to Be a Standout Candidate for that UX Job, Part 1
Jenny Sun wrote this article on making new professional connections in the UX field. Her guidance is great for aspiring UX designers as well as seasoned UX designers. (As an experienced, well-connected UX designer, I still get nervous when I enter a room full of professionals I don’t know.)
People Who Get Hired Don’t Get Hired
Jennifer Aldrich wrote this great article on the frustrations of getting rejected after a UX job interview. I appreciate her guidance—let yourself feel upset after the rejection, then move on. Don’t give up on your career goals.
My Advice on Becoming a UX Designer
I wrote this article for people who want to become UX designers. In the article, I explain how to get involved with the UX community, how to take on UX projects by yourself, and how to apply UX at your current job.
UX Careers: An Interview with Cory Lebson
In this UXpod interview, Cory Lebson shares his recommendations for becoming a UX designer. He explains how UX is a skill you learn by doing. He also shares some ideas I hadn’t thought of, like shadowing a UX designer as they do their work.
The UX Intern Podcast
In this podcast series, a UX intern named Wesley Noble interviews UX designers. He asks them about their work, how they got into the field, and what advice they have for aspiring UX designers. If you’re not sure which episode to start with, try the interview with Whitney Hess, Jesse James Garrett, or Luke Wroblewski.
Don’t Be a UX Designer
The sarcastic and funny co-hosts of this podcast, Laura Klein and Kate Rutter, discuss the typical drawbacks of being a UX designer. As a UX designer, I’ve experienced every challenge they describe in this episode. I agree with Laura and Kate—it’s beneficial to understand the challenges you’ll face as a UX designer before you journey into a UX career.
The UX Design Education Problem
Many UX hiring managers say that traditional design schools graduate people who are not prepared for the design field. In this podcast from True North, the interviewer, Ben, talks with guests Jared Spool, Andy Budd, and Jason Fox about the challenges with design education. I added this podcast to the list because it will help you understand the complex landscape of design education.
It’s a Great Time to Be a UX Designer
Jared Spool is a highly respected leader in UX design. He’s also my boss at Center Centre. In this presentation, Jared explains UX design with real-world examples. Some of Center Centre’s applicants tell us they decided to pursue a career in UX design after watching this presentation.
Get Started in UX
This e-book will help you transition to a career in UX design. The book explains, among many other things, how to build professional relationships in the UX field and how to create a UX portfolio. The book will also help you determine if UX design is a good career move for you.
Other Resources for UX Career Shifters
Have you found other good resources for UX career shifters? Let me know in the comments. I may add them to the list.